Science Debate 2008

We need a president who moves science back into the White House. Today we do not have a presidential science adviser and there is no office of science in the White House (link).

Yesterday should have been the day of Science debate 2008 if only the candidates had agreed to participate. I am disappointed that they did not but also not surprised. Before becoming politicians Hilary and Barack were lawyers, and John was professional military. What do they know about science and technology? Nothing. Unfortunately by turning down the chance to debate and discuss science suggests that they do not have science advisors on their campaign staff either. So is this why they don’t want to debate the future of science in the USA?

The editorial quoted at the top of this post is very informative – kind of not surprising why so many scientists fail at their first academic position [takes a bow] if the average age of getting a grant is 42 years. So one or two brilliant people get them earlier and the rest of us…I always was a late developer.

Where are our future scientists and engineers coming from?  Can we get them from the US or do we need to import them? From what I’ve seen from some of the science labs in local high schools, it is not surprising that not many graduating high school seniors want to take up science.

It is a shame that the candidates did not debate science and they still need to prove their scientific credentials.

Now there is a second invitation to the candidates to debate science in Oregon on May 2, 9 or 16. Let us hope they attend.

science debate 2008 logo


Arthur C Clarke Dead at 90

We interrupt the Food Fest for an important announcement:

One of the first science fiction writers I read has died. An era has ended. Arthur C Clarke wrote some of the leading science fiction books including Space Odyssey:2001, A Fall of Moondust, and The Fountains of Paradise. The last of which explored the idea of a space elevator, which I still find fascinating.

Labor Day News

Despite the fact that the United States celebrates Labor Day at the wrong time of year, at least yesterday was celebrating labor. On the same day, the UN’s International Labour Organization released a report that says US workers are the most productive workers in the world (Key Indicators of Labour Market).

So we workers in the US should stop and pat ourselves on the back and enjoy the holiday. Umm, not according to Steven Beard of NPR’s Marketplace:


Doug Krizner: On this Labor Day, news the American worker is the most productive in the world. That’s according to a new report from the International Labor Organization in Geneva. Let’s bring in our European correspondent Stephen Beard. Stephen, what do these figures show?

Stephen Beard: Well they show that Americans work longer hours than the citizens of most other developed countries and are by a long shot the most productive. These figures are actually quite startling. The UN’s arrived at them by taking total GDP and dividing it by the number of people employed and these show that the average U.S. worker produces $63,885 worth of output a year and that compares with small countries like Ireland, Luxembourg and Belgium, which come next in the rankings, which produce only around $55,000.

Krizner: I would imagine that a lot of this has to do with the extent to which, particularly in the States, we have this huge availability of information technology.

Beard: That’s what the UN says. It’s clearly that the whole computer and telecom revolution has gone faster and further in the U.S. than perhaps anywhere else. Also they point to the way American companies organize themselves and the generally high level of competition in the country as a whole.

Krizner: Stephen Beard in London, thanks for the encouraging words on our Labor Day.

Beard: Keep working.

Food News

Here are some food news items I saw and haven't had time to read or comment on:

The Beeb repports that aspartame has been shown NOT to be linked to cancer by the European Food Safety Authority.

Is obesity a sign of depression? asks Hedwig, aka Grrlscientist.

If you want to lose weight you could try looking at Random Squares to stop you thinking about food suggests Dave Munger at Cognitive Daily.

What does the Organic label really mean? asks Melinda Wenner at Stochastic after reading the New Yorker article by Steven Shapin and Michael Pollan's article in Mother Jones.

Tara at Aetiology reminds us that tomorrow (Sat May 13) is STAMP OUT HUNGER Day.

Evologen reports on a New York Times article where bartenders are using molecular mixology to make cool and interesting drinks.

Also the 9th teaching carnival is posted by Dr Freeride. Lots of interesting articles from the tertiary education perspective.

That's all I saw, post in the comments if you saw anything else food related.